ADJOURNMENT - Murray-Darling Basin
Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (22:28): The New South Wales Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, has slammed the revised Murray-Darling Basin Plan, saying that it has not given due consideration to any of the issues raised in the New South Wales government's submission, which detailed a sensible and practical way forward.
She is right, of course. New South Wales makes up, as the minister said, 56 per cent of the basin and yet it has been totally ignored in the revised draft—or should I say daft—plan that has come out today and has been given to the states. She said: 'It beggars belief that the Murray-Darling Basin Authority thinks it can just republish virtually the same information and assume the community will accept this.'
The community in the Riverina electorate will not accept a situation where 2,750 gigalitres of productive farming water is going to be given to the environment when the people who are claiming this needs to happen cannot justify the reason this is so and what the water will be used for. Minister Hodgkinson said:
It appears the Authority has no ability to develop a genuine plan to manage the health of the Murray Darling Basin.
Under the revised draft Plan, southern NSW communities in particular remain the most vulnerable as the Authority has still not indicated how downstream requirements will be apportioned between States and Valleys.
The area in which I live is made up of the Murrumbidgee Valley. The Murrumbidgee, in Aboriginal terms, means never-failing water supply. That never-failing water supply supports a prosperous agricultural community that provides $5 billion to the Australian economy—billions of dollars worth of agricultural exports to Australia—and is being totally ignored by the MDBA.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! It being 10.30 pm the debate is interrupted.